This study investigates the capacity of optical spectroscopy in the visible (VIS) and near-infrared (NIR) spectral ranges for estimating the biomechanical properties of human meniscus. Seventy-two samples obtained from the anterior, central, and posterior locations of the medial and lateral menisci of 12 human cadaver joints were used. The samples were subjected to mechanical indentation, then traditional biomechanical parameters (equilibrium and dynamic moduli) were calculated. In addition, strain-dependent fibril network modulus and permeability strain-dependency coefficient were determined via finite-element modeling. Subsequently, absorption spectra were acquired from each location in the VIS (400 to 750 nm) and NIR (750 to 1100 nm) spectral ranges. Partial least squares regression, combined with spectral preprocessing and transformation, was then used to investigate the relationship between the biomechanical properties and spectral response. The NIR spectral region was observed to be optimal for model development (
). The percentage error of the models are:
(8.9%). Thus, we conclude that optical spectroscopy in the NIR range is a potential method for rapid and nondestructive evaluation of human meniscus functional integrity and health in real time during arthroscopic surgery.